The board of the European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved a new initiative which aims to make investing in energy efficiency projects in residential buildings more attractive to private investors.
A new financial instrument, Smart Finance for Smart Buildings (SFSB), will use EU grants as a guarantee.
Together with other EU policy initiatives for smart buildings, it aims to unlock a total of €10bn (£8.9bn) in public and private funds for energy efficiency projects between now and 2020.
Public finance alone is not enough to support the transition to a clean energy system, the European Commission explained: “The SFSB initiative aims to facilitate the deployment of financial instruments across Europe and better target subsidies towards vulnerable consumers or specific market failures. Financial instruments are key to further mobilise private financing for energy efficiency and renewables in buildings.”
The Commission estimates that this investment could support up to 220,000 jobs and help establish a renovation market for small businesses worth up to €120bn (£106bn), while taking up to 3.2 million European families out of energy poverty.
“The building and housing sector accounts for 40% of Europe’s energy consumption, but it needs much more investment, and this initiative will help reduce the gap,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy. “It will also create local jobs and reduce energy poverty by using EU funds intelligently in a cost-effective way.”
As well as helping to de-risk investments in the buildings sector, giving investors and financiers a better understanding of the risks and benefits of energy efficiency investments, SFSB will offer assistance with project development, as many households lack the skills and capacity to set up, implement and finance ambitious energy efficiency projects.